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Plympton Academy


We strongly believe that students should have the geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to prepare them for life in the 21st Century in a world of challenge and opportunity. Our curriculum supports students in developing a critical understanding of the world and how we interact with that world; how we can harm the world and how we can help it, how the world can harm us and how it can support us. Our curriculum and its sequencing develops our students' ability to analyse the changing world and how they interact with their environments enabling them to make responsible and rational decisions as global citizens.

Through teaching and learning we aim to broaden our students’ world in terms of scope and access to cultures and cultural understandings from around the world, inspiring a passion and enthusiasm for Geography but also a life-long love of learning. We feel we are privileged to be teaching in a geographically rich location and as such our curriculum values physical units such as coasts and rivers.


Like our subject, our curriculum is dynamic, reflecting our changing world and our changing students.   We also recognise the broader development of students and the importance of learning both in and outside the classroom and within and across subject areas.  The sequence and nature of the curriculum seeks to develop confidence in students and a range of transferable skills.


Ultimately, our curriculum gives students cultural capital enabling them to access careers, key skills and British values resulting in our learners having opportunities as responsible and curious global citizens.

Year 7

We split the year into two themes. The first of which is called ‘Where am I?’. Students will learn to locate themselves within the world using a variety of Map Skills which become embedded at this early stage in their secondary career. We look at local Geography on the different maps helping students to fully understand how to use them. We also look at our local rivers and how the Water Cycle influences them - and the dangers they can pose.


The second theme is ‘The Wider World’. Students will learn about different Ecosystems around the world, specifically comparing life in the Polar regions with life in Deserts. We will also study Population theories using an African example to aid with student understanding of different Human Geography theories.


We use a variety of lesson techniques which will enable Year 7 students to grasp an understanding of the key skills needed to succeed in Geography, develop a knowledge of their local area and gain an understanding of physical and human changes in the world. 


Year 8

Just like Year 7, the year is split into two themes. The first is called ‘Global Threats’ where students will learn about the Hazards around the world which threaten people on a day to day basis including Earthquakes, tornadoes and Climate Change. They will also learn about Impossible Places around the world including the reasons for making them difficult or simply impossible to live in such as Chernobyl.

The second theme is entitled ‘Classic Geography’ where students will get to study two units which consolidate skills learnt throughout Key Stage 3 while learning new content to a high level. These include Coasts whereby students will learn how coastlines have been created, the processes that affect them every day and how we can protect human assets from destruction. Students will have the opportunity to make a choice based on current discussions surrounding the protection of our local coastline. We also look at Development, specifically looking at China and how the country has evolved over the past 50 years.

Our Year 8 units develop the skills taught during Year 7 and enhance them so students can enter into Key Stage 4 confidently knowing how to describe, explain and evaluate in high levels of detail. 


Year 9/10/11

Description of the course

All students study the AQA 9-1 exam specification. The course is split into three human and three physical topics. Students also have to complete at least 2 pieces of fieldwork (trips) and will be assessed in three exams at the end of Year 11.

During Year 9, students study Resource Management and the issues we have surrounding food, water and energy, Changing Economic World which focuses on why we have rich and poor countries and The Living World which explores Biomes around the world in great detail. 

During Year 10, students study Urban Environments and UK Physical Landscapes. Students will learn about different cities around the world and the different opportunities and challenges they present depending on their economic status. Physical Landscapes includes theories on Rivers and Coasts which develops on student core understanding from Key Stage 3. Fieldwork is also conducted during Year 10 with trips to a local beach and city. Here students will investigate theories learnt in lessons in the real world. They are then asked questions about their experiences in an exam.

Finally, during Year 11, students will study Hazards in greater depth compared to Year 8. Students will have a detailed understanding of Tectonic and Meteorological along with Climate Change. The balanced core of human and physical Geography covers knowledge of places, decision making techniques, problem solving and an awareness of environmental issues.

Assessment Procedure

Regular mid and end of unit assessments will take place throughout the three year course.  Internal mock examinations will take place throughout Key Stage 4. 

Year 11 students will be assessed in Geography through three external examinations.

• 35% Paper 1: 1 hour 30 minutes written examination on physical geography

• 35% Paper 2: 1 hour 30 minutes written examination on human geography

• 30% Paper 3: 1 hour 15 minutes written examination on geographical applications (this will include questions on fieldwork skills and a decision-making style exam question based on a pre-released document).


Year 12 / 13

Description of the course

Students will follow the AQA A-level specification. The course is taught across two years and consists of three Human Geography topics, three Physical Geography topics and an externally assessed NEA. 

Human Geography consists of Changing Places, Population & The Environment and Global Systems & Global Governance. Students will develop a deep understanding of how the human world works and have the opportunity to question the environments around them. Students will consider how different places have different meanings and how agencies influence our perceptions of locations around the planet, how Globalisation has shaped the socio-economic world around us and how population change influences the natural world 

Physical Geography consists of Hazards, Water & Carbon Cycle and Coastal landscapes & Systems. A direct follow up from GCSE, students will explore hazards in far greater detail and appreciate how humans respond to hazards in different regions of the world. Students will also get to study hazards not included within GCSE. Students will also explore how the Water and Carbon Cycles influence life on the entire planet and the delicate relationship between humans and coastal environments in far greater detail. 

The NEA is an independent 4000 word research project which students will complete. They will get to choose their topic of choice and will complete independent fieldwork. This is a fantastic bridge between A level and University as it prepares students for Higher Education assignments.

Assessment Procedure

Regular mid and end of unit assessments will take place throughout the two year course.  Internal mock examinations will take place throughout Key Stage 5. 

• Paper 1: 2 hours 30 minute written examination on Physical Geography (120 marks)

• Paper 2: 2 hours 30 minute written examination on Human Geography (120 marks)

• Geographical Fieldwork Investigation (NEA) - 4000 word report about independent fieldwork (60 marks)

Meet the staff


  • Mr C Jones - Head of Geography

  • Mrs J Littlejohn - Teacher of Geography

  • Mr J Strachan - Head of Year & Teacher of Geography